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PSA “Blem” 10.5″ Upper Review

Just in time for Palmetto State Armory’s Memorial Day Sale, I was able to get my hands on one of their “Blem” complete uppers, so I figured I’d do a short review.

Regular price on these are $349.99 when they have “blemished” ones to sell, and in checking over the last few weeks they haven’t not been in stock. As is typical, after careful inspection I haven’t been able to find the “Blem” anywhere, so whether this is clever marketing on their part, or their QC is just that strict, I’ve always felt like I’ve gotten a good deal in buying their “Blem” items.

Note that with the current Memorial Day sale, these are currently going for $169.99 and free shipping.

Palmetto has always been pretty quick about their shipping, and it showed up in a discreet cardboard outer box, with this one inside.
Opening that finds your upper ready to go.
As mentioned, I tried my best to find the “blemish” and came up blank.

Disclaimer – As this is a 10.5″ upper, current legal situation where it is, I’m using it on a registered SBR. Reviews for the product show a ton of folks using ’em for braced pistols, but I’m definitely not in the business of giving legal advice. Follow all relevant laws, etc. etc.

That out of the way, I was able to drop it right in place on my preferred lower which started it’s life as a Ruger AR-556. I simply swapped over the Bootleg Adjustable BCG and charging handle, and functionally, it was ready to go.

Except it wasn’t. Yet. While this upper has an A2 front sight, it’s got a flat top at the rear, so a sight was needed. There were a lot of ways I could go with this, but since I’ve already got a “modern” SBR, and I’ve got an affinity for retro ARs – I figured I’d lean that way with this one.

The “Mekut’zar” look is a good look.

So, detachable carry handle it is. Palmetto was out of stock on their detachable carry handle, so I went with this one from 80% Arms (also currently subject to a Memorial Day 20% off, code: MD20). To stick with the retro look, I also went with one of these slings, which will look familiar to readers of my XM177E2 review.

As I’m already running a 10.5″ Faxon Pencil’ed upper with modern optics, I figured it was time for another retro rifle.

And finally, to finish it out, while I wanted to leave the A2 birdcage for the aesthetic, I also wanted to be able to run my Rugged Razor 762, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to try out their lightweight M2 Brake mount.

So then, the big question – how does it shoot?

Pretty darned good. In setting the Bootleg BCG to Unsuppressed and going for it, I got through several magazines of both Winchester White Box .223 and IMI m855 with not a single issue. This was doing absolutely nothing aside from what was mentioned above, checking the bore for obstructions, and function testing it. I didn’t clean it. I didn’t lubricate it. I just attached the stuff right out of the box, checked it, and let ‘er rip.

Through a mix of luck, and I suppose some quality work on both Palmetto and 80% Arms parts, the irons were just a hair right of bullseye at 25y, and that’s good enough for me. Next up was running it suppressed. Rugged Razor attached, and BCG set to the same position I use with my Ruger (“3” or just one mark shy of full suppressed). Again ran another 6 mags, 3 of each ammunition I was testing, without failure. Ejection pattern was perfect, and minimal gas to face, and no noticeable POI shift.

For a total cost of $208.98 with the Carry Handle / Sight, this thing’s a steal, and ran flawlessly. If anyone’s looking for a great budget shorty upper for an SBR build, don’t sleep on this one while they’re on sale.

Specs:
Barrel Length 10.5″
Carbine Gas System
Nitride finish Barrel
4150V Chrome Moly Vanadium barrel steel
5.56 NATO Chamber
1 in 7″ Twist Rate
Chrome Lining – None
Barrel Extension:  M4
Handguard Type: PSA Classic Polymer
F-Marked Front Sight Post
Muzzle Thread:  1/2-28
Muzzle Device:  A2 Flash Hider 
Receiver Material: Forged 7075 T6
Overall Length:  18.5″